David Farrar’s echo chamber fail

Written By: - Date published: 5:40 pm, November 2nd, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: climate change, dpf - Tags:

There’s some massive FAIL going on over at Kiwiblog. Farrar’s got this new green-bashing post up where he breathlessly mocks Al Gore for saying sea levels could rise by 67 metres because of climate change.

“67 metres in ten years!” wails Farrar. “I think politicians like Al Gore actually damage the very cause they purport to support, with their hysterical claims”.

Dude then goes into a page full of calculations to show how stupid Gore is to talk about a 67 metre rise before finishing, apparently without irony given his EFA antics, “is such hysteria a useful contributor to the debate?”

I’ll tell you what’s not a useful contribution to the debate, David – you.

See it turns out Farrar’s entire research for this piece consisted of ripping copy from Ian Wishart, who ripped it off some mad right-wing blog, which in turn got it from “Arab Internet services company Maktoob.com“.

You go to this Maktoob.com, and it turns out Gore actually said that if Greenland and West Antartica’s massive ice sheets melted it could increase sea levels by 6-7 metres. Which means the 67 metres claim is wrong. He doesn’t say it will melt in ten years, either. Which means Farrar’s entire post is one giant excercise in FAIL.

For a dude who makes his living selling people research you’d think he’d take more care of his reputation than to leave it in the hands of people like Ian Wishart and his nutty climate change denier mates.

Update: Farrar’s updated the post to say 6 7 metres, but continues to smear Gore based on the claim that it’s predicted to all happen within ten years. This is simply untrue, Gore has made no such claim. I notice Ian Wishart is trying the same trick in the comments. These people really have no shame.

Update 2: Finally fixed, though the dude’s still trying to argue the point like he actually understands what the IPCC are on about.

45 comments on “David Farrar’s echo chamber fail”

  1. Terry 1

    The straw man fallacy is an idiots best friend.

  2. Sam 2

    Oh my gentle Jesus.

    What an utter moron. Clearly he’d fail the NATIONAL STANDARDS.

  3. torydog 3

    the guy needs to stop hanging out with key….stupidity is catchy!

  4. hilarious 😆
    first he failed as a big screen heart-throb, then as a sexy voice-over guy, and now this.
    i wonder what his forte really is?

  5. Chris 5

    Is Farrar’s new nic ’67shortie’?

  6. lprent 6

    What a sucker. I’ve noticed him sprouting slme of the CCD bullshit (in the guise of I’m a moderate) with clearly no understanding of what he is talking about. For instance a few weeks back, he wrote a post that talked about the IPCC 4th report that clearly showed
    1. He hadn’t read it
    2. He didn’t understand it was one of a series
    3. Clearly did not understand that it was a conservatively put together work in progress. To date each report has been more dire than the last
    4. Looked like he’d read a precis of one of the earlier reports that omitted the sections about where the available data was too light to fo estimates of.

    Basically DPF is an illiterate fool on climate change

  7. lprent 7

    Spelling errors are from iPhone on a bus.

  8. Zetetic 8

    I can’t believe he doesn’t correct his post. It’s a pile of crap based on getting all excited about someone else’s misreading of a news article.

    But if he changes it to “6-7 metres in time” Gore’s claim doesn’t look so stupid, eh?

    What’s a poor boy to do?
    -take down the post and look a tool
    -Leave the post up and correct it and look at tool because there’s no story
    -Don’t edit it and look a tool.

  9. Lew 9


    But if he changes it to “6-7 metres in time’ Gore’s claim doesn’t look so stupid, eh?

    If it had been 6-7 metres in 10 years as David’s revised claim states, then it would be equally risible, as he point out. But that’s not what Gore said. Not even close.

    Mmmm, willing suspension of disbelief.


  10. RedLogix 10

    Well he’s corrected it to 6 – 7 metres, but still makes the mistake of claiming that it’s predicted to all happen within a decade.

    UPDATE: The original news story refers to 6-7 metres, not 67 metres. I should check original sources more often, but good thing on the Internet is people pick up errors quickly. I would point out that is still a prediction of an average 670 mm a year, compared to the 0.54 mm from the IPCC. It means Gore is out by only three magnitudes, instead of four.

    He should stick to dog-whistling.

    • the sprout 10.1

      now i see Wishart’s blaming it on arab news sources, apparently they can’t be trusted for veracity!

      • Daveosaurus 10.1.1

        When Wishart’s around, one never lacks for irony.

        • Pascal's bookie

          He says he knew it was false, and his critics are dumb for not picking up on that.

          Reminds me of when there was one of those campus shootings in the states, and he posted some fap from little green footballs saying OMG it’s a lone wolf muslim terrist!!

          His defence when the shooter turned out to have been raised Christian, was that his headline had a question mark after “Religion of peace”.

          Stupid critics.

  11. lprent 11

    And he is still wrong. The value he is quoting is an AVERAGE rise. The rises will be punctuated with rapid rises over short periods followed by periods of quiet.

  12. Steve 12

    Why would DPF correct his post? All here are raving and then off to Kiwiblog to check. 500,000 posts now since DPF started the blog. The Standard will get there one day.
    I would have to say that there is more constructive criticism on Kiwiblog than here.
    The Standard does sometimes balance things unlike Red Blert. Trev is a bully.

    So sea levels may rise, but they have done before and they have lowered before.
    Have a look around the King Country, Taumaranui, fossilised sea shells.
    Whore Gore says 6.7 meters? pfffftttt!

    • Zetetic 12.1

      Wow. It’s like incontinence in written form.

      no-one said 6.7 m. 6 – 7 m.

      go here, enter 7 metres. see what’s flooded. That’s our economy stuffed.

      Farrar has had 500,000 comments in six years. We’ve had 125,000 in two. Slow start of course. Catching quick. We’ll get there in 5. even without threads full of crap like your ramblings.

      • Steve 12.1.1

        Zetetic ,
        Kiwiblog has a permanent threadjacker, come on over and see.
        Common names: nah not doing that, you come on over.
        I mean you do want to be balanced right? not just your way is the way?

        • Zetetic

          Is this how you conserve verbally? Can’t understand what you’re saying.

          I’ve seen Kiwiblog. Seen the Gobi desert too. Nothing to make me keen to return to either. Both just empty wastelands.

          honestly. what do you see in farrar’s writing? it’s just dogwhistling, and ‘i saw boobs!’ most of his the commentators are just pig ignorant and some are just vile buggers we’ve had to ban from here because they wreck it for everyone else.

        • the sprout

          umm Steve, where to start with your logic.

          let’s just try a simple one.

          yes the Earth has gone through many cycles, and yes the Earth doesn’t really ‘care’ a toss about what we do, it’ll still be here for many more million years before its end. even if all life was extinguished it might well still go on to evolve a whole new compliment of species.

          but as humans, you need the Earth to not go into one of its major climate oscillations because they tend to result in rather major species extinction episodes. crikey, one of them would not only lead to probable extinction of your species, it might even disrupt the economy.

  13. prism 13

    Steve says – I would have to say that there is more constructive criticism on Kiwiblog than here.

    I would say that it is possible that there is more criticism on Kiwiblog than on The Standard. This is because the posts on Kiwiblog are mainly negative criticisms and swingeing putdowns with few showing evidence of considered judgment, interest in wider issues, and facts.

  14. Ianmac 14

    Of course it raises the question:
    Why would Farrar be so persistent in denying Global Warming?
    Since we believe he is the mouth for National, what angle are they pushing? What is in it for Nick or John?

    By the way if the sea did rise significantly, most of the occupied land/cities and most of the arable land would be destroyed. Where would the 6 billion + Farrar retreat to?

  15. zelda 15

    Hows this for a prediction, made 20 years ago

    While doing research 12 or 13 years ago, I met Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect before Congress. I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?’ He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.’ I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there.


    Hansen, seems to have been exaggerating. Are any of his advice to Al Gore any more relevant to day.

    • sk 15.1


      Predictions Jim Hansen may or may not have made 20 years ago are not relevant. It is clear when you do a bit of digging into Climate Change that is an extremely complex, multi-demensional, and non-linear process.

      I sat down with Ian Pilmer’s book – published by Ian Wishart – on the weekend. His framework is extreme Popperian – if you make a prediction, and it does not happen, then you entire hypothesis is falsified. Which is what you are implying.

      Using the same logic, from 1998 analysts were warning of the potential financial crisis, triggered by derivatives. Buffet called them financial instruments of mass destruction. So every year, these warnings (predictions) were made. And every year they were falsified. Until the financial system blew up.

      Such is the way of non-linearities. And which is why the simplistic rebuttals of Climate Change do not get us anywhere

      • Steve Withers 15.1.1

        Very true, sk. I have discussions with people who say “global warming” can’t be happening because it’s gotten cooler and wetter at mid-latitudes. I try to explain that when the Arctic ice melts and there is more sea exposed, there is then more evaporation…..and therefore more clouds and more rain / snow further south.

        The poles are warmer. But they can’t see that. So it isn’t happening.

        I saw the Age of Stupid recently. We’re clearly in the thick of it.

    • Zetetic 15.2

      phew! a guy’s predictions were too dramatic too soon. guess the greenhouse effect isn’t real though.

      Wonder how all those greenhouses work, then.

    • lprent 15.3

      Hansen, seems to have been exaggerating. Are any of his advice to Al Gore any more relevant to day.

      Yep sweetie, and I have a pile of predictions by various people about many things that haven’t happened (Douglas and the trickle-down theories of the neo-libs come to mind), or haven’t happened as fast as they expected (the quantum leaking limitation on computer chips for instance).

      Hansen was arguing a hypothesis in advance of the evidence and giving a worst case analysis – that is called an opinion. This produced a number of questions by some very skeptical scientists who hunted around for evidence pro or anti the theory that produced more data. The main factor that he was wrong on is that he under-estimated the buffering effects of CO2 and heat adsorption by the oceans. Which incidentially make the effects worse long term rather than better.

      Now we have more evidence and more accurate estimates about when things are more likely to happen. This in turn has provoked a whole series of hypotheses and opinions. That is how science operates – incrementally. We leave faith for morons like Wishart and other flat-earthers (eg the ACT party)

      The difference is that 20 years ago earth scientists generally were skeptical about the idea of human induced greenhouse effects being significant. Now they aren’t. There are very few earth scientists now (well apart from those paid to think otherwise and a few contrarians) who don’t think that there will be significant human induced climate change is in the process of happening. Most think it will get significant pretty damn fast in geological terms – in fact inside human lifetimes is the conservative estimates (IPCC).

      So is there a point to your snide (and pretty unbelievable) little story? In other words, was there a point to what you were saying? Or is it just another CCD myth being passed around by the scientifically illiterate?

      • zelda 15.3.1

        Myth ? I would call it an inconvenient truth.

        So when the boots on the other foot its called ‘snide’ .
        Hansen was out by a factor of 100 ! A bit like Wishart then

        • lprent

          So, thats what science does. It takes peoples ideas and finds evidence that either supports or disproves it.

          Incidentally and on the same topic of inaccuracy – what divisor did you use to arrive at “out by a factor of 100”. Your statement is as meaningless as a PR spin line without it. But I guess that is the point of your meaningless life…

  16. Ridiculing anyone for something they didn’t say….and not retracting….is pretty low.

    I know someone who thinks the recent UN report on climate change is crap.

    Did this person read it?


    They read a US right-wing rebuttal of it.

    I asked how they could read a rebuttal….and buy it….without reading the original?

    They said they don’t read UN reports. That they are crap.

    This is where a lot conservative types live…..ignoring the evidence and arguments that make mince-meat of their unfounded beliefs because – sight unseen – they are ‘crap”.

    Farrar does no one any favours – most of all himself – by getting it wrong…and keeping it wrong.

  17. scotty 17

    More anti science propaganda from Farrar, just like his “I’ve got no faith in science stance on greenhouse emissions,claiming we’ll have to shoot all the animals.
    Still it gives us a good insight to how deep in the sand ,the frightened right have decided to plunge their pointy heads.

  18. toad 18

    It gets even worse down the comments thread, where John Ansell of “Iwi-Kiwi” notoriety links to the potty peer Monckton as if he were an authoritative source on climate change and advocates that he should get a Nobel Prize.

    • zelda 18.1

      Hes a polly ( an ex journalist), mmmm a bit like Al Gore( an ex journalist too) and since when has he been an authoritative source on climate change

      • snoozer 18.1.1

        does being an ex journalist preclude one from being an expert on climate change?

        Just because one ex-journalist is not an expert doesn’t mean another one can’t be.

        • zelda

          Sorry cant have it both ways. And have you looked at Gores presentation. it was riddled with errors, which makes it like Farrar or Wishart, surely.

          Or is Gore like Bishop Tamaki, above criticism according to his faithfull flock

          • lprent

            Yeah, so? Gore is a politician making a statement. You’d expect that they’d screw up any science or indeed almost anything else.

            You’d expect a journo to at least do some reasonably balanced research. Wishart, who arguably is a journo (in his own eyes at least) doesn’t bother with any research that might disrupt his preconceptions.

            Supposedly DPF often fancies himself as a journo. But never fails to write mistakes based on his own preconceptions. Probably why people regard him as a partisan blogger rather than a journo.

            Personally I just ignore politicians and journos as being unlikely to understand much about the science. But I did a degree in earth sciences so I actually know how much I understand or don’t understand.

            You, of course from your little tale further up, don’t even bother to understand the science. More fun just acting like a idiot?

            • zelda

              Im sure you are way smarter than me. But your point is ?

              The main Science journals have plenty of corrigendums , even experts in their own fields make stuff ups. get graphs upside down that sort of thing.
              A quick search gives 6 pages, at 3 lines each, on the nature.com website alone.

              Hansen was out by a factor of 100( maybe 1000). He could say I was wrong 20 years ago but he wont.

              BTW any luck proving that Hansen ‘didnt’ say it. You seemed to enjoy catching DPF out.

              • lprent

                Huh? If you’re wanting to comment on blogs, then you really need to keep track of whom you’re talking to.

                Z did the post on DPF not me (this is a multi-author site and I seldom have time to write one). I have no idea who said that they were looking at Hansen.

                I was just rubbishing your weak ideas on climate change as I do moderation scans.

  19. prism 19

    Steve Withers says – I know someone who thinks the recent UN report on climate change is crap.
    Did this person read it? No. They read a US right-wing rebuttal of it.
    I asked how they could read a rebuttal .and buy it .without reading the original?
    They said they don’t read UN reports. That they are crap.
    This anecdote shows the frequent lack of interest in facts and a disinterest by so many in their fellow human beings welfare (and ultimately their own) plus lack of hopeful vision. No wonder we stagger from one crisis to another. How do we get improvement in a democracry -where everybody is free – to be an idiot?

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